It’s a sideways tale of growing up – just a little bit – as the boys learn, despite their bravado, how vulnerable they really are to the pitiless – and mysterious and misunderstood – ways of adults. As their ambitious schemes fall apart, the film concentrates on how each of them grows emotionally and it’s the young actors’ ability to convey what’s taking place for them internally that holds the film together. Despite their escapades, they seem more childlike than delinquents. Even when things are at their worst, they are good-natured, tell rude jokes and stay friends. The boys’ acting is exceptional, especially Zacherie Chausseriaud, the youngest.
The Giants is quiet, sensitive and melancholy, beautiful to look at, and with ear-catching laid-back music from Belgian musician Boney King of Nowhere, complementing the film’s other location in the Ardennes. It is is the third feature for Belgian director and joint screenwriter Bouli Lanners, also a painter and actor, and it has won a number of festival awards. Though poignant, the film feels slight, like just one episode of the boys’ journey along life’s highway, with its ending an open road.